Saturday, March 28, 2009

"I have seen this game before."

Nothing can beat the heart stopping events of last night’s game. One of the fellow followers I watched the game with jumped from his seat so quickly on the game-tying goal that he dropped to the floor from too little blood in the head. With all that said, I was not at the game, but watched every minute with fellow fans. Those fans and others I have shared Bulldog Hockey with in the past can attest to one statement I have made a few times over the years and for very different reasons, “I have seen this game before.” I did utter this phrase a few times last night again. So what do I mean when using this statement banked in my mind? It swings from bad to great as did the game last night as summarized here:

  • In the near 70 UMD games I have attended live, I have seen Bulldog teams come out and just look flat, horrible…a mailing-it-in type of style. No hustle, no drive when down on the scoreboard. That was the case last night on my first utterance when UMD went down 3-1.
  • When the Dogs pulled to 3-2 I was hopeful, but then the crushing shorthanded goal at 9:21 of the 3rd pushed me to say the words again. A UMD team that had its chances and couldn’t get on the right side of the next goal. The team had come too far to go down to Princeton on that Friday night. But hope dwindled.
  • I could have made my statement again at 19:20 of the 3rd when Jack Connelly made it 4-3. The old too little too late, but I couldn’t bring myself to say or believe those words. I should have known that I have seen that game, but in a much different light than I have discussed thus far.
  • On the edge of my seat seeing the one shot left for Evan Oberg, I have to admit, honestly, that this was a good shot amongst the craziness in front of the net. Just as that thought banged in my mind, the puck banged in the net…roofed…water-bottle shot. Then I could say with a very positive attitude, “I have seen this game before” and that is a huge feeling. The game I speak of is keep in many readers’ minds and on a scratchy VHS tape by Andy, my co-contributor. The game I speak of is the game 3, first round WCHA playoff win over UMTC March 15, 1998 at the DECC. UMD down 4-0 with 10 minutes left in the third…yada, yada, yada….Bulldogs win 5-4 in OT.

So, I have seen this game before! But no two games are alike just as not two college teams from year to year are alike. I am just left to soak in the great emotional rush of the “Miracle at Mariucci” as some national sites have dubbed it. And I have to secure tickets for tonight!


PS: If I were a hockey coach I would want my goalie to drop that puck every time to keep the clock running and keep the Bulldogs scrambling. I do not agree with the big guy on TV!


Last night was one for the ages. For a full game description check out USCHO or Inside College Hockey. UMD's comeback is available on Youtube. I saw it live and was amazed; on video it is just as amazing.

Now for tonight. The #4 seeded Redhawks of Miami are up against the Bulldogs. I plan to be at the game cheering on UMD. Just keep winning!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

March Towards Washington Continues

I have a hard time being impartial, but I see good things happening for the Bulldogs this weekend at Mariucci. I think they match up well against the other teams and that they will win the first for sure and win a hard fought Region Championship game.

Key to Success at the Rink. The UMTC players bemoaned the fact that they had to play UMD on the smaller rink at the Xcel rather than the huge olympic ice sheet like at Mariucci. The players noted that on the bigger ice sheet Stalock can be made to move more side to side and scoring opportunities ensue. I got thinking about that sentiment and reminisced to the game I witness at Mariucci when UMD lost 5-3. It did seem that Stalock was aggressive and out of position more than other games I watched him play. Was it the ice sheet, the defense, or a bad night? Let’s look at the Dog’s play on olympic sized (200x100) ice at UMTC, SCSU and CC and the near olympic sized ice (200x97) at Wisconsin. The results are pretty grim looking at UMTC, SCSU, and Wisconsin with a combined 1-4-1 record. The bright spot is at Colorado College where the Dogs sported a 3-0-1 record this year. Conclusions? No clear trend can be made, but it is an interesting question. What is known is that the defense needs to come to play and Stalock needs to keep playing like he can and has been.

Key to Success at the Rink II. On the flip side, the national writers have been buzzing about how Denver’s speed will be well suited for the olympic rink. But when their numbers are looked at, you find that they are 2-3-1 against the same teams listed above. Taking out Wisconsin and their close-to-an-olympic rink, the Pioneers are 0-3-1. Let the games be played, but again, interesting numbers.

Soak It All In, Beavers. This will likely be the last time for a while that Bemidji State sees the NCAA Tournament now that the CHA is defunct. Playing 10 games against 5 WCHA teams and getting 3 wins this year is pretty good. Making the NCAA Tournamnt with an RPI of 37, now that is priceless!

Good luck to all entrants and may this Bulldog team play their game. This will be another exciting weekend of hockey, that is for sure!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who will be this year's Hobey winner?

The 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award were announced this past Friday and as all of the experts are saying there were a bunch of surprises to this year’s list. I decided to take a deeper look at this year’s list of 10 and try to determine who the committee will pick for the Hobey Hat Trick on April 2 and who they will pick as the winner. I haven’t seen all of the players play, so I feel there is no way I can truly say “who is the best player in college hockey”.

So let begin with a breakdown of the players:

Player - Team - Position - Year - Awards
Louie Caporusso Michigan F Sophmore CCHA 1st Team Forward
Matt Gilroy Boston University D Senior HE 1st Team Defense
Chad Johnson Alaska G Senior CCHA Player of the Year
Zane Kalemba Princeton G Junior ECAC Player of the Year and the Ken Dryden Award
Jacques Lamoureux Air Force F Sophmore AHA Player of the Year
Jamie McBain Wisconsin D Junior WCHA Player of the Year
David McIntyre Colgate F Junior ECAC 1st Team Forward
Viktor Stalberg Vermont F Junior HE 1st Team Forward
Brad Thiessen Northeastern G Junior HE Player of the Year
Colin Wilson Boston University F Sophmore HE 1st Team Forward

Over the years the Hobey committee seems to like goal scorers and points leaders. This year’s points leader is currently Bryan Leitch of Quinnipiac with 59 points, who is not one of the finalists. He is 7 points ahead of Jacques Lamourex. Since there is no big time scoring leader (I think the committee is thinking this), this means there will be a defenseman, a goalie and a forward as the three finalists.

So let’s go to the Defense. You have Jamie McBain who was the WCHA player of the year and Matt Gilroy who was Hockey East 1st team defense. Well, McBain’s Player of the Year Award trumps Gilroy’s 1st team award. McBain is the 1st Finalist.

Now it is on to the goalies. There are three to pick from and all three have terrific numbers and all three were their conference’s Play of the Year. First is Chad Johnson for Alaska (not in the tournament), second is Brad Thiessen of Northeastern and third Zane Kalemba of Princeton. Theissen and Kalemba are both still playing in the Tournament. I think if either Kalemba or Theissen have big games one of them will be the goalie in the final three, if not Johnson and his 6 shutouts for the season will be the goalie in the Hobey Trick. At this point I am going to say Johnson.

Last are the forwards. We have one conference Player of the Year award winner remaining in Jacques Lamourex, with the other being 1st team conference forwards in Colin Wilson, Viktor Stalberg, David McIntyre and Louie Caporusso. David McIntyre’s Colgate Raiders are done for the season and he is tied for 10th in the nation for scoring (with Viktor Stalberg) so he is out. For that matter Viktor is out also. For a UMD comparison MacGregor Sharp is currently tied for 6th in scoring overall and 2nd for goals scored and he is not a finalist. Now to Wilson and Caporusso, both have more points than Sharp, however currently less goals. So before a decision is made lets looks at Lamourex who leads the nation in goals scored and is currently 2nd in points. Since Lamourex was the only forward that was a conference Player of the Year and all of the others were not considered to be the best player in their respective conferences this season, Lamourex gets the nod.

Ok so we have McBain, Johnson (or one of the others if they stand on their heads) and Lamourex. So who wins the Hobey? Well for the UMD connection the committee probably remembers Stalock’s performance last weekend and will say is Johnson really the best goalie in the Nation? At which point they will probably think back to Ryan Miller and Rob Stauber and ask “is Johnson in their caliber?” I think they will say no. That leaves Lamourex and McBain. So, Lamourex, had a great season for a team that is viewed to play week competition (Air Forces strength of schedule in the RPI is currently 45). I think they will pass on Lamourex leaving McBain as your Hobey winner. Lets watch and see what happens.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Intensity Only Increases

To all ecstatic Bulldog fans like me out there: What a Weekend!!! Record making hockey was witnessed by many this past weekend. UMD became the first team to:

  1. Be the Play-in winner and win the Broadmoor Trophy,
  2. Beat UMTC in the Play-in game (they were 4-0 all time),
  3. Beat Denver for first loss ever at the Xcel in the Final Five (7-0 previous), and
  4. Record shutouts in the semi-final and final games.

Maybe more importantly, the wins not only propelled the Bulldogs into the NCAA Tourney, but it landed them a #2 seed in the West Regional in Minneapolis. The placement in Minnesota lends to a larger fan base and less travel, both of which should bode well for the Dogs.

Talk of the Town. Stalock was the talk of the Final Five and the whole country as noted on USCHO, “…while third-seeded Princeton will be matched against possibly college hockey’s hottest team, Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs won the WCHA Championship on Saturday after winning three straight games at the Final Five riding the back of goaltender Alex Stalock, who allowed just one goal in the three wins.” Click here for full article. This team seems to live and die by defense and goaltending. It also seems to help when the team is the underdog as demonstrated by UMD being the only WCHA team with a winning record against NoDak this year and their dismal 0-5-1 against Anchorage. Stalock is most deserving of the MVP award. As I say to my defense when I coach football, “If they don’t score, we don’t lose.” But that could lead to a really long game now without ties. So where is this going? This time of year you need scoring too, and MacGregor Sharp was that guy. While Stalock shut out the opponent, Sharp provided the spark to make it count on the scoreboard. UMD needs to keep on scoring and spread it around as much as possible. I am sure that all teams are looking at film and plotting ways to keep Sharp tied up and holes in the Stalock wall.

Talk of the Town II. I know that they will be crossing the river from Saint Paul to Minneapolis this weekend, but as said earlier, being in Minnesota for the NCAA Regional is a big advantage. So get your tickets early…or wait until game time and buy them from some Gopher fans who jumped the gun, and get out to cheer on our Bulldogs!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bulldog Blanking

Only two teams now remain in the quest for the Broadmoor Trophy after Denver and UMD each dispatched their foes with a shutout victory. The last time UMD won the Broadmoor Trophy was in 1985. Denver won last year’s WCHA Final Five.

Last night’s game was well played by both UMD and UND, but was highlighted by a superb effort by Alex Stalock in the UMD net. UMD continued stymie the opposing teams’ power play and scored on their own special teams chances. Macgregor Sharp got UMD off to an early lead with a shorthanded goal scored right in front of us. If you didn’t see the goal, find it on youtube. The flickertails goalie Brad Eidsness played the puck behind the net leaving for teammate to play, only for Sharp to get there first and put it into an empty net. At this point the Xcel Energy center went quite and all of the fans wearing green knew what was going to happen the rest of the night.

I expect a great game tonight between UMD and Denver as both goalies are playing great. For UMD to win they need to capitalize on the power play and continue to be rock solid on the penalty kill. I would expect a pro-UMD crowd at the X, which should feed UMD some additional energy.

The win solidified a UMD NCAA berth as they are currently tied for 11th in the pairwise and coupled with the outcomes from other games UMTC has moved up to 14th in the pairwise. Now it is wait and see where they will be playing. Go ‘Dogs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cranking the Numbers

Well, here I am again. I cannot keep away from the Predictor now that we know that UMD has trumped UMTC at their “home away from home.” It was quite a game and was enjoyed with the company of good friends and wings. So now that I have cranked the numbers for a good half hour, I find it difficult to find a plausible scenario where UMD is not in the NCAA tourney even if the Dogs lose the next two! That is assuming that conference winner upsets are kept to no more than one. I also find it difficult to get UMTC into the NCAA with the events of tonight. Now keep in mind that anything is possible especially since UMTC is hosting the first round NCAA West Regional and that UMTC AD Joel Maturi is the chair of the selection committee. But as of right now, I urge you all to crank the numbers and see where my plans are flawed.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Key to the Game

There are so many takes and statistics that are being thrown around, but I will keep mine short. The key to the play-in game Thursday night between UMD and UMTC is special teams. UMD brings the 3rd ranked power play in the nation versus the UMTC 4th ranked nationally penalty kill. UMD needs to crack the UMTC defense and score at least on PP goal. If the Dogs do not score a PP goal in a game, they have gone 1-4-1 this season. As a side note, UMD has scored 49 PP goals this year, 31 more than last year. It definitely is a key!

Possibilities. Thanks to those who have tried the Predictor and found all the crazy things that can happen. I have realized it is just to darn early to spend too much time on it. After Friday, though, we can really start cranking numbers. Needless to say that UMD needs to just keep winning!

Thursday Prediction. Why am I doing this? It will only drive me nuts! I will say that if UMD scores a PP goal and/or hold UMTC to less than 3 goals, they win...and I believe they will!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here We Go!

And we are off and running with speculation galore! It is official, USCHO has their PairWise Predictor running found at It is a great speculation tool and one that can make you crazy looking at all the possibilities. You go ahead ans predict the outcome of the Conference tournaments however you like to see how the PairWise Rankings (PWR) change. USCHO's PWR mimics the NCAA's selection criteria extremely closely, so it is reliable.

What Has Been Determined? Based on a comment from a reader asking:

  1. If the Dogs win Thursday, are they a near lock for NCAA? and
  2. If the Dogs lose Thursday, will they fall and be out of the NCAA tourney?

My first response to each question was no. I then looked at the Predictor and found that if all the top seeds win with a tweak or two for 3rd place games, the Dogs cane make the NCAA's with a loss Thursday. Unfortunately, I also found that a win Thursday by UMD paired with losses Friday and Saturday could bump them out of the tournament. I can it all make sense?!? That is the danger/fairness in letting the numbers and computers figure everything out.

I have just begun to delve into the world of the Predictor. I urge anyone who wants to add a comment regarding playoff implications and scenarios to jump in!

Stay tuned as the HighHorse staff continues to crunch numbers!

Go Dogs!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Crazy Weekend is Over!

Wow! I admit, I did stay up to watch GameTracker for the Ohio State/Alaska game. Just towards the end of the 3rd period of a 0-0 game I realized that there was a link to the radio feed. I switched to the radio feed from Alaska just in time to hear the game winner at 19:10. The Nanooks took the series and finished the season for OSU, and that is great news for UMD! With OSU now out, UMD moves up to 13 in the all important PWR. It is going to be a crazy week and this result made it more crazy and full of opportunity for UMD. Can't wait to break down more numbers all this week. On to Saint Paul!

Go Dogs!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A couple of things

The first thing, it has been brought to my attention that I may have been a little harsh in my post last Monday related to Scott Sandelin. I am not a Sandelin hater, and I think he is a good coach. I am worried about complacency. UMD fans should expect a team to win and not be a flash in the pan.

My opinion comes from a person on the outside not knowing what is going on in the bowels of the DECC. His first few seasons the teams seemed fired up at all times and never showed any let down. After the Final Four season, the teams seem too often pack in games and look disinterested. This season is one where it was often said “if we would have played better”. Well unfortunately now we are looking at every game like it could be the last.

I realize Sandelin is not the one playing but there has to be some level of accountability. I keep looking back to the Sertich years as a bench mark. In all of the season’s Sertie was behind the bench UMD had 4 seasons where they finished with fewer than 15 wins. So far Sandy has already had 5 seasons. The last three seasons there has been improvement each year and there still is a chance to go further this season. Final judgment for this season needs to wait until all of the UMD games have been played. Hopefully that will be in April.

Second thing, last night game was well played by UMD. They showed a lot of composure and played to win. The defense was strong, along with Stalock who was great between the pipes. Tonight UMD needs to come out and continue with the scoring they had last night. If they do, they will be playing in the Final Five.

For the NCAAs I think what would be best for UMD would be the following: UMD keeps winning, Denver sweeps UAA, Mankato wins tonight and UW wins tomorrow, SCSU wins at least 1 or both of the remaining games with UMTC, Umass Lowell beats Vermont, NMU gets a couple wins against Miami, the Nanooks sweep OSU and Quinnipiac comes back to take the series from St. Lawrence. This is a lot, hopefully a few can happen, and especially UMD keep winning! GO 'Dogs!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Name Your Cliché, Part II

Backs are against the wall in 80% of the WCHA this weekend. There may very well be no tomorrow after Sunday for much of the league. The reason is that mediocre play by the teams of WCHA this year leaves only two teams in the NCAA playoffs if they lose the first round series this weekend. To say it another way, eight of the teams need to win their first round series or their hopes of the NCAA's is done. North Dakota and Denver are firmly in the top ten according to the PWR on . Minnesota is right on the bubble at 13. CC is tied at 14. Our UMD is tied at 17 with Bucky, SCSU, AA and Mankato at 19-24 (they are right bunched up because of ties in the system). If all goes as planned with conference tournaments (and really, when does it?), the top 14 in the PWR go to the NCAA tourney. Its March madness, I guess...

PWR Helpers - Denver. Go Denver! After taking (escaping?) with only one of eight points against Anchorage this season, the Bulldogs PWR would benefit greatly from AA falling out of the top 25 in the PWR and thus being excluded from the Teams Under Consideration (TUC). If only the Dogs could have...would have...but that is in the past.

PWR Helpers - UMass - Lowell and Norther Michigan. Wins by these teams would also bolster UMD in the PWR. Lowell wins keep them in the TUC and wins by NMU would likely mean entering the TUC. Unfortunately they are both on the road in their respective tournaments.

Are You Serious? It is the last year of the CHA and finally the last year of teh CHA auto-bid to the NCAA tourney. The CHA tournament is this weekend at Bemidji and the Beavers are the favorite at a whopping 16-15-1 record. Maybe the only entrant from the State of Hockey? It could happen if the rest (UMD, UMTC, SCSU, MSU) all lose this weekend.

So What is the Best Shot at NCAA? If any team besides NoDak and Denver want into the NCAA, they need to get to Saint Paul. But this blog is really all about UMD and their chances. Is it good to be headed to Colorado Springs? Yes they have had success in Colorado, but at this point, they need to be focused on beating the team in the opposing jersey, wherever that team is from. If UMD is to be included in the NCAA tourney, they need to get to Saint Paul AND get to one of Friday's games (that would likely mean a win Thursday night). It would also be very helpful for Saint Cloud to clear the Gophers out of consideration in the first round. That paired with UMD beating CC would allow UMD to pass two teams in the PWR. Just win this series at CC!

This Weekend's WCHA First Round Playoff Series. It is that time of year when good teams win and the others go home for summer.
  1. #10 MTU at #1 NoDak: Case closed, Flickertails in 2.
  2. #9 Anchorage at #2 Denver: As said above, the Dogs would benefit from a Denver sweep, but one AA road win in 09 was at Denver. Judging from the poll on this page, at least one person believes that AA will continue their hot streak into the playoffs with a series win. I for one, see a Denver sweep.
  3. #8 Mankato at #3 Wisconsin: Upset #1, Purple Cows in three.
  4. #7 UMD at #4 CC: I want to say upset #2, but the Bulldogs of late February and March thus far are very unimpressive. Has Stalock been overused? Is the defense tired and exposed? They need to stop CC and get to Bachman early. I believe they can do it and so do the poll voters on this page, but it will take 3 games. It all rests on Friday, a win is a series win. A loss Friday and get out the golf sticks.
  5. #6 SCSU at #5 UMTC: Another pollsters favorite upset! But SCSU 0-4 against UMTC this regular season. Turn around? This series is ripe for upset. I honestly think that UMTC will pull through, but this is another Friday night is the night to tell the tale of the series.

Again, this is an important weekend for all those WCHA teams looking for NCAA bids. Gotta win, Dogs....gotta score!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wild, Wild, Western Collegiate Hockey Association

"Who am I? Why am I here?" - Admiral James Stockdale, 1992 vice presidential candidate introducing himself at the vice-presidential debate.

I feel a little like the Admiral in looking at the Bulldog's predicament. Why do I need to write about possibilities of home ice and no home ice for the University of Minnesota - Duluth Bulldogs? Because they have not won when 1. they should have beaten weaker opponents, 2. they tied so many games and 3. they do not play well on the road. What does that the reasons boil down to? Home ice is the key to the Final Five and the Final Five is the key to the NCAAs. It really is just that simple when looking at this season's edition of the UMD Bulldogs.

Lets Get to the Possibilities. Its all about the log jam in the middle of the WCHA. Home ice for the first round of the playoffs extends to 5th place and that is exactly where UMD is, but tied with Saint Cloud State and UM - Twin Cities. Tie breakers will likely have to be used (see March 3rd post for details on tie breaking) and UMD is on the short end with the two teams they are tied with. That means that UMD has to outright beat UMTC and SCSU on points to pas them and gain home ice. A long shot? Yes, UMTC is at Houghton, MI visiting Michigan Technological University and SCSU is playing a home and home series with Mankato State. SCSU is vulnerable playing a Maverick team that is hit or miss and for that matter, you never know which SCSU team will show up for a game. UMTC is likely going to sweep. I do recognize that MTU is beat up, but I also know that UMTC has had problems with the Huskies in recent years. All it will take is one tie...assuming that the Bulldogs sweep. That is the hinge in all of these situations.

What About Those Badgers? Bucky is currently sitting in 4th place, 2 points ahead of the melee for 5th place. Can they be passed? The badgers can easily find themselves on the road for the playoffs as they play the Fighting Sioux at home. The Sioux need one win to clinch the McNaughton Cup outright. It remains to be seen if NoDak wins Friday night, but if they do, will they just mail in their effort Saturday? I would like to think that they wouldn't as they are still jockeying for NCAA seedings, but anything can happen (flash back to UMD 7-0 win over NoDak the night after they clinched the Cup in 97-98). FYI - Wisconsin has the tie breaker on UMD also!

Hold Them Tigers! Talking about Bucky making a fall in the ranks, we need to look at the Colorado College Tigers. CC has one game left on Saturday at Denver. Right now we know that CC is 3rd cannot catch 2nd place Denver. By the time the CC/Denver game starts we will likely know if Denver has a chance to win the WCHA depending on what the Sioux do to Bucky Friday night. For argument's sake, let's assume that NoDak takes Wisconsin down Friday. CC clearly has more to play for. Ahhh, but lest us forget that this is one of the most heated rivalries in the WCHA. Denver will not CC off easily at all. A loss by CC will allow the chance for UMD, UMTC and SCSU to pass CC if any of them sweep. CC could wind up in 7th with a loss and the right circumstances.

So Will the Right Circumstances Happen? Time will only tell, but I have my ideas. UMD needs to pass two teams by points alone. The only way UMD will take home ice in the playoffs is if Wisconsin falls below 5th. I believe that there is a good chance that Bucky and CC will fall and SCSU will not sweep. But the Bulldogs MUST sweep Anchorage!

This Weekend's WCHA Games. It is the last of the last for the regular season. Kudos to the schedulers who have all of the teams in the hunt of making or breaking home ice playing the teams that are not involved. How did they know all this two years ago when this schedule was made?
  1. Colorado College at Denver (Saturday only): Of all the picks for this weekend, this is the one I feel most confident about. Denver will be ready for their rival and beat them at home.
  2. North Dakota at Wisconsin: The Sioux will win the McNaughton Cup Friday night and at least tie Saturday. With the way both teams are playing, I will go so far as to predict a Flickertail sweep!
  3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities at Michigan Technological University: As much as I want to see the Huskies come in and help out UMD, they will be swept at home.
  4. Saint Cloud and Mankato (home and home): two teams that have been up and down all year. It is the old Jekyll/Hyde thing. The only plausible outcome I can see is a split.
  5. Anchorage at University of Minnesota - Duluth: Here it is. It all comes down to this. The Dogs need to sweep. Maybe I have seen too many bad things in early Spring happen to the Dogs in past years that makes me think that one of these may be a tie. It should be a sweep for many, many reasons, but I am just not feeling it. I will say UMD sweep and hope that my little voice is wrong.

If everything plays out as I predict (even with that little voice problem of a three pointer for UMD), UMD will have home ice. Why? They have the tie breaker on CC. Check back throughout the weeekend for more insight and commentary. Listen to the Dogs at .

Time to get off my HighHorse and wait for the games.

Go Dogs!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pick 'em and Win Tickets! WCHA Final Five

As published by the WCHA:

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – College hockey fans will have the opportunity to
get in on the action at this year’s 2009 Red Baron™ WCHA Final Five with
the new "Pick Your Final Five Sweepstakes." Fans that enter will have a
chance to win a prize of four (4) ticket packages to the 2010 Red Baron
WCHA Final Five.

Here’s how the sweepstakes works:
• Visit
starting at 12:01 am CT on Monday, Feb. 9.
• Choose the five (5) WCHA teams you predict will make it to the 2009
Red Baron™ WCHA Final Five.
• Choose the two (2) teams you predict will make the championship
• Choose the 2009 Red Baron WCHA Championship winning team.
• Guess how many total goals will be scored during the 2009 Red Baron
WCHA Final Five.

If more than one (1) person correctly answers all four questions, all
contestants with correct answers will be entered into a random drawing
to determine the prize winner. If no one correctly answers all four
(4) questions, those persons that answer the most number of questions
correctly will be entered into a random drawing to determine the winner.
The contest begins at 12:01 am CT on Monday, February 9 and ends
at 11:59 pm CT on Thursday, March 5. The winner will be announced by
noon CT on Sunday, March 22.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tie Breaking Procedures

Here is the press release for tie-breaking procedures put forth by the WCHA:


At the conclusion of the regular season, teams will be ranked by the number of points accumulated. If two teams are tied for first place, they will be declared co-WCHA champions.

The first round of the WCHA’s post-season tournament will be a best-of-three games format at the home site of the teams ranked higher in the final regular season standings. All ten teams participate in the first round of the tournament.

First round playoff pairings will be: #1 rank vs #10 rank, #2 rank vs #9 rank, #3 vs #8, #4 vs #7, 5# rank vs #6 rank.

Following the five first round series, the five winning teams will be re-seeded #1 thru #5 according to their standings in the final WCHA in-season competition and will advance to the WCHA Final Five.

In the event that ties are encountered in the determination of WCHA ranking or designation of home teams for playoff purposes, the following procedures will be used in the order given to break the ties:

a) If two or more teams are tied, head-to-head competition during the regular (conference) season will be used to break the tie.

b) If two or more teams are still tied after (a), the highest seed will go to the team with the most WCHA (conference) wins during the regular season.

c) If two or more teams played a four-game series during the regular season and the teams have the same win-loss records for those series and the same number of WCHA wins, the team having the least number of goals scored against it in the four-game series shall have the higher rank. If two or more teams played a two-game series during the regular season, proceed to tie-breaker d).

d) If two or more teams are still tied after applying the provisions of (a), (b) and (c), the team having the greatest ‘winning margin’ during the regular season will have the higher rank. Winning margin = WCHA goals for during the regular season minus WCHA goals against.

e) Games played against WCHA opponents in holiday tournaments will not be counted in the determinations.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Doug Spencer
Associate Commissioner for Public Relations
Western Collegiate Hockey Association
phone: 608 829-0100

Monday, March 2, 2009

Holding On?

Winning games would take most, if not all, of the drama of taking home ice and making the NCAA's for the Bulldogs. Alas, it is not that easy as proven this last weekend. All said, the Bulldogs are still 13 in the PWR, the third highest in the WCHA. This will change...unless they start winning and get help. I think it is a proven fact that the road is not a good place for UMD. If they do not make home ice for the WCHA playoffs, it may be lights out and then watch the NCAA's sail away. What will get them home ice and a good shot at the NCAA's? Stay tuned for Thursday's post where playoff implications will be broken down for the last regular season weekend in the WCHA.

As a side note: What is good goaltending worth? Take a look at video from the Bruins/Capitals game Saturday. Hats off to the editor of the video for their music selection!,144804&feature=player_embedded

Go Dogs!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Giveth and Taketh Away

Aint that the truth?!? Fiskness and I were lucky (unlucky) enough to be at Mariucci last night to see the hot and cold performance of the Bulldogs. It was really great to see them claw back into the "must win" game. And it was equally heartbreaking to see them cough it up in the end. As I said to a WCHA representative seated near us in our post game chat, it was a well officiated game, but that is all relatively speaking. I called "no penalties" at the 3:00 minute mark of the 3rd period and was right except for the "must call" of Meyers on the home team Lucia at the 16:00 minute mark. It stinks.

The good news is that PWR is relatively unchanged, UMD still at 13. But the WCHA standings are in a jumble for home ice with UMD, UMTC, and SCSU all tied at 5th. I will get into that more in this week's article and I will briefly comment on PWR again tomorrow after today's wrap-up of the CC-NoDak series.

Go Dogs!